How to Check a Router's Log

By Andrew Aarons

Networking isn't as complicated as it used to be, at least not home networking, which most people can manage on their own without having to call technical support. Routers -- both wireless and wired versions -- ship with administrative software loaded onto them, and you can access the software to troubleshoot the device or to access log files.

Step 1

Make sure your computer is connected to your local network. Check the network status in the system tray. You can plug your computer directly into the router with an RJ-45 (network) cable, but this isn't strictly necessary.

Step 2

Open a new browser window in your Web browser, type "" into the address bar and press "Enter." This is the default IP address for most routers -- but not for all routers. If your browser returns an error, check your router manual for its specific IP address or follow the instructions in PCWinTech's "How To Find Your Router's IP Address" article (see Resources).

Step 3

Enter your administrator password, if prompted. The first time you set up the router you will have set this password, which isn't necessarily the same as your network key. If you didn't set a password, you'll be taken directly to the network configuration screen. This screen differs depending on the brand and model of router, but most router configuration software have the following headings, or similar: "Setup," "Advanced," "Tools" and "Status."

Step 4

Click on "Status" to find out information about your router and to access its log files. You should be able to see a "Logs" link on the screen. Check your router's user guide to find its specific location if you don't see the "Logs" link on the main screen or "Status" screen.

Step 5

Click "Logs" to see all of your router's saved logs and to change the way the router records logs. The router lists the number of logs at the top of the screen and then all of its logs vertically. You can refresh the logs to make sure they are up to date or clear logs to start fresh. Some routers have a "Save logs" button for exporting the logs to a text file. Most of the information in a router's log is self-explanatory -- you'll see things like "Blocked incoming packet" or "Dropped packet" and a list of IP addresses.

Step 6

Press "CTRL" and "F" to open your browser's search function and to search for a specific incident or IP address. Enter your search term into the window and press "Enter" to search. Close the window or logout to exit the router setup.